‘Will continue to be Congress worker’: Ashok Tanwar resigns from all party posts over irregularities in ticket distribution for Haryana Assembly polls

Former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar announced his resignation from all party posts held by him on Thursday, a day after he protested outside Sonia Gandhi’s Delhi residence over alleged irregularities in ticket distribution for the upcoming Assembly polls.

While addressing a press conference, Tanwar displayed the resignation letter that he sent to Sonia Gandhi and said that he will continue as an ordinary party worker, while stepping down from the various committees formed by the party chief for the Haryana Assembly election.

Ashok Tanwar staged a protest outside Sonia Gandhi’s residence on 2 October. ANI

Tanwar said that Haryana Congress had become Hooda Congress and is centered on the concept of political dynasties, which ignore the ordinary people that work for the party. “It is unfortunate that anti-party forces are dominant in Haryana,” he said. He added that those who worked against the party’s interests in the last five years have been given prominence over those who worked hard to strengthen the Opposition in the state.

Alleging that those with vested interests cannot stand a new leadership, Tanwar said that many of those who stood a chance to win were denied tickets and became victims of groupism. “When the BJP denied tickets to 8-9 sitting MLAs, two ministers, why can’t the Congress deny tickets to those who weakened the party or have serious charges against them?” he questioned.

Tanwar claimed that party workers are alleging corruption in ticket distribution and he would give adequate proof to the party high command, if required. “The way ticket distribution has been done is not as per practice and laid rules,” he said, asking the party to spell out the criteria for allocation of tickets.

Asked if he will campaign in Assembly polls, Ashok Tanwar said he will think about it when asked to do so, adding that he will not follow the orders of those who have disregarded party orders.

The feud between the factions led by Tanwar and two-time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda deepened ahead of the release of list of candidates for the Haryana Assembly polls. Tanwar claimed that his list of 15 candidates was rejected by “people who want to destroy the Congress”. He accused Selja and Hooda of denying tickets to people who “worked hard on the ground”.

Tanwar and his supporters staged a protest outside Sonia Gandhi’s residence on Wednesday, raising slogans against the election management committee chief Hooda, his neglect of those who worked for the party for years and the alleged distribution of tickets based on whims and fancies.

Alleging that the Sohna Assembly ticket was sold for Rs 5 crore, Tanwar responded to Hooda’s 18 August comment where he had said that the Congress had “lost direction”. “Some people said in Rohtak that the party had lost its way. When something is given to them, then the party is on the right path,” Tanwar said.

The Congress had last month named Kumari Selja chief of the Haryana unit, replacing Tanwar, and appointed Hooda as chairperson of the election management committee. Hooda was also appointed the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader and by virtue of that, the leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

The last date for filing nomination for the 21 October assembly polls is 4 October. The counting of votes is on 24 October. Hooda was the chief minister of Haryana for 10 years before the Congress was ousted in 2014 by the BJP.

On Wednesday night, Congress released a list of 84 candidates for the Haryana Assembly polls, fielding 16 sitting MLAs, but leaving out Renuka Vishnoi from Hansi constituency. Hooda will contest from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi, Randeep Surjewala from Kaithal, Tanwar’s name did not figure in the list. The remaining six candidates were announced on Thursday.

With inputs from PTI

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